Hyundai’s all-new 2019 Santa Fe
By Vince Bodiford
Hyundai’s all-new 2019 Santa Fe is a fresh new edition this likely to continue as the volume leader for the carmaker. It’s the best-selling SUV in Hyundai’s stable – a 32-year sales leader with over 1.6-million sold. This new fourth generation 2019 model builds on this success offering an all-new family-oriented interior, loaded with practical technology and bold exterior looks.
The five-passenger Santa Fe Sport is now just called Santa Fe. The current long wheelbase three-row, seven-passenger model called Santa Fe has been renamed Santa Fe XL for the 2019 model year. Rounding out Hyundai’s SUV lineup is the all-new three-row, eight-passenger SUV that recently launched – the 2020 Hyundai Palisade.
Pricing starts at $25,750 for the SE, and tops out at $37,100 (base) for the Ultimate 2.0T. Rivals include the Kia Sorento, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Edge, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Murano, Jeep Cherokee and similar-size crossover SUVs.
To set their vehicles apart from the pack, Hyundai is positioning them to have a unique, individual appearance, yet still belong to the same design family. The face of the new Santa Fe is highlighted by a cascading grille and a composite light design. Overall, the look is distinctive with a powerful and fresh presence.
Inside, the cabin is a blend of modern styling, ease of use, and comfort. The interior design combines high quality with a roomy layout featuring a strong horizontal design theme and enhanced visibility. Premium touches such as the layered, three-dimensional instrument panel and contrasting seat stitching ensures a high level of luxury within the cabin.
Interior cabin space has been enhanced on the 2019 Santa Fe. Inside, there is now more cargo room behind the second-row seats. In addition to more cargo space, second-row leg room has also been lengthened to be best-in-class. The H-point distance between the first and second rows has also been increased and the floor has been lowered for even more second-row comfort. Engineers also have incorporated one-touch folding second-row seats.
Driving the new Santa Fe is effortless and comfortable, with a confident steering feel and stable handling. Improved ride comfort, handling and stability are achieved through key developments in the suspension geometry of the 2019 Santa Fe. The biggest change sees the rear shock moved upright from an angled position, improving the ride and handling no matter the driving conditions.
Hyundai’s standard Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist puts eyes and legs in the back of drivers’ heads. Using the Blind Spot Detection system’s radar sensors when backing up, the system can not only warn the driver if vehicles approach from the rear side, it also applies the brakes automatically.
The new Santa Fe’s exterior has also grown in size, giving the vehicle even more presence. With a length of 188 inches, a width of 74 inches and a longer wheelbase, it also provides more comfort for passengers than the outgoing 2018 Santa Fe Sport.
Visibility has also been emphasized with the next generation Santa Fe. To help the driver, the outside mirrors are body-mounted lower and further rearward and the A-pillars have been reduced in size. For the driver and rear seat passengers alike, the rear quarter glass has been increased by more than 40 percent.
The Santa Fe line-up offers a choice of powertrains. There is a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder GDI engine with 185 horsepower (29-mpg) or a more powerful, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 235 horsepower (25-mpg). All engines are mated to a brand-new eight-speed automatic transmission. The newly developed transmission provides quick and crisp shifts for a more engaging and efficient driving experience.
The 2019 Santa Fe has Hyundai’s HTRAC All-Wheel-Drive system. The HTRAC AWD system is a multi-mode system, providing an electronic, variable-torque-split clutch with active torque control between the front and rear axles. The driver-selectable HTRAC Normal, Sport and Smart modes help provide confident control in all weather conditions.
The Santa Fe is loaded with technology that works well and helps the driver and occupants. High-tech content includes Hyundai’s latest AVN 5.0 navigation system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay offered with higher level trims. The base level trim gets a standard 7-inch user interface, also equipped with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. And to eliminate the need for a charging cord, there’s an available Qi wireless charging pad for compatible Android devices, as well as Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
When it comes to audio technology, the available premium sound system is well-suited to the Santa Fe’s upscale interior. The 630-watt, 12-speaker new Infinity branded stereo system with an 11-channel amplifier features Clari-Fi and QuantumLogic Surround Sound technology.
Santa Fe Blue Link-equipped models include three years of complimentary Blue Link services, with enhanced safety, diagnostic, remote and voice guidance services. Blue Link brings connectivity directly into the car with technologies like Remote Start with Climate Control, Remote Door Lock/Unlock, Car Finder, Enhanced Roadside Assistance and Stolen Vehicle Recovery. Heads-up display is also available.
Overall, this new generation Santa Fe feels like the all-new vehicle that it is. It offers improvements over the prior model, with plenty of content, all at more affordable price point.